CAUGHT IN A RAD BROMANCE
Men are expected to behave a certain way, mostly through display of toughness, virility, financial independence, control and violence, thus creating a sheer disregard for the “Other,” which comprises traits that fall under or relate to passivity, dependence and the usual warm, fuzzy feelings.
However, these rigid structures on “how to be a man” all seems too good to be true. In Hollywood cinema, movies like Dirty Harry (1972), The Godfather (1972), Scarface (1983), and Die Hard (1988) all have an archetypal “guy’s guy” as main characters, who are, one way or another, involved in some kind of assault, violence and a sheer display of macho aggression.
Manhood in contemporary society really takes a lot of work and I think it is somehow in need of a rescue. At least, from a huge potential of manslaughter (pun intended) due to people’s obsessive, exaggerated and ridiculous expectations.
Fortunately though, there are some men who believe that they can actually enjoy a much deeper relationship with fellow men without any fear of judgment and trepidation. Victor Seidler of The Achilles Heel Reader: Men, Sexual Politics and Socialism said that it is possible for men to change, to develop different kinds of relationships (especially with themselves), while seeking an alternative to “the shoulds” that they are constantly putting upon themselves.
But since I do not want to bore with you with the whole scholastic schmuck, I would like to prove how men can still enjoy the warm, fuzzy feelings with each other, without appearing too queer and homoerotic, with my top 8 bromances in TV, sports and movies over the years.
8. Ryan Atwood and Seth Cohen (The O.C.)
Seth: You know what I mean?
Ryan: Hardly ever.
The OC would not be as popular and successful during its heydays without the two main protagonists in Ryan Atwood (played by Benjamin McKenzie) and Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) who were distinctly different from each other but who got along very well. Their relationship was borne out of a stereotypical relationship between two bros in most media portrayals, where one is an alpha brooding male who’s got the macho and mystery vibe that works best with the ladies; and the other, a more laid-back, usually smarter and funnier guy who is more content with being the wingman in the relationship (and who often gets a hot girl or two in the process.)
Bromance power trademark: A healthy mixture of brains and brawn.
7. Nick Stokes and Warrick Brown (Crime Scene Investigation)
Warrick Brown: Fire in the hole! [Warrick fires gun]
Nick Stokes: [flinching] You’re supposed to let me get these things on. [he indicates the muffs around his neck]
Warrick Brown: Hey, you were supposed to be ready. I don’t know man. Maybe it would work out better if Tina was someone who did what we did. At least she’d understand the hours.
Nick Stokes: Well, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s a good idea to date someone you work with. You never really get to get away from work, or them the way you need to.
Warrick Brown: You mean like you and me, Baby?
Nick Stokes: Yeah exactly, Honey.
They have not only made forensic science a very hot very interesting field to take but they have also provided a breath of fresh air to an otherwise very serious show. Nick (George Eads) and Warrick (Gary Dourdan) have solved crimes together and they were pretty good at adding fun to it. It only shows that no amount of psychopaths and serial killers can get in their way, and more so, when they’re together. One of the best moments in their friendships was during the Grave Danger episode when Nick was abducted and was about to be buried alive. A webcam was built inside his acrylic glass coffin to update the entire CSI team of his current situation. At the height of the ordeal, Nick almost attempted suicide using a gun provided by his kidnapper. Nick dropped the gun, before pulling the trigger, on seeing Warrick dig down to him. During this heart-gripping scenario (directed by no less than Quentin Tarantino), Warrick never let his friend down, telling him that he would never let anything bad happen to him. In fact, just when they were about to mix things up by blowing up some parts of the ground surrounding Nick’s location, he stayed on top of the coffin and didn’t let go. He could’ve been hurt in the process, but it was a risk Warrick was willing to take.
Okay, it’s not gay, people. It’s epic and heroic. It was one of my favorite CSI episodes of all time. And it couldn’t be that amazing without the two at the helm. (Unfortunately, Warrick was killed off the show a few seasons ago. Too bad.)
Bromance power trademark: One of the coolest jobs ever. Catching bad people, seeking for truth and justice together.
6. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (Chicago Bulls glory days)
“For me to go in and play with Michael and be a part of that historical team that was put together for the first time was great. Anytime you’re able to play with someone you are comfortable with, it pushes you that much further ahead.” – Scottie Pippen
“When we went into battle, I knew I had someone to watch my back. Scottie Pippen, he’s my guy. I love him like a brother. He pushed me to be the best basketball player every day in practice. And I pushed him to be the best Scottie Pippen he could be.”-Michael Jordan
As much as I worship Michael Jordan (and it probably would take another lifetime for me to like any another NBA player again), I know that his six championships will never be possible without Scottie Pippen. Pippen may be the most revered sidekick to the best player that ever played the game, but to me at least, he’s more than just the guy behind the shadows of his Airness. His tremendous skills and basketball know-how has earned him a spot in the NBA greats and is ½ of the best duos in NBA history. I could never enjoy a Chicago Bulls game without these two and their friendship inside and outside of the game has translated to many wins on the court, eventually making their bromance a hoot in the hoop.
Bromance power trademark: Talent, chemistry, athleticism, and making the triangle offense work for many years. And of course, the six rings, baby.
5. Ted Mosby and Marshall Eriksen (How I Met Your Mother)
Ted Mosby: I just met the perfect woman. She’s funny, she’s beautiful, she loves “Star Wars”…
Marshall Eriksen: Woah woah woah, what’s her take on Ewoks?
Ted Mosby: Loves them!
Marshall Eriksen: Oh, good. I don’t know why people are so cynical about Ewoks, the Rebellion would have failed without the Ewoks.
Ted Mosby: And get this: She’s a marine biologist, she spent a year in Antarctica studying penguins.
Marshall Eriksen: Oh, penguins are cool. Kinda like black-and-white Ewoks. I approve.
Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor), an architect, is a professed romantic who’s in the quest of finding true love. And Marshall (Jason Segel), a lawyer, who has already found his TL in Lily (Allison Hannigan) joins and supports Ted in this adventure. Their escapades are usually crazy and over-the-top hilarious. They’ve experienced so many things together since they were roommates in college. All those years, they’ve had each other’s backs through their biggest heartbreaks and their biggest triumphs. They share the same interests in almost everything, and they’re the only ones who can call on each other’s crap without taking it against each other. Overall, they seem to embody the typical brotherhood that exists today: bros over hos, and all that jazz.
Bromance power trademark: They’ve got Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) to put them (sometimes) in the right perspective. It’s all they need.
4. Johnny Depp and Tim Burton
“I would do anything Tim wanted me to. You know – have sex with an aardvark… I would do it.” Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp: One time, Tim and I were talking before we were getting ready to shoot. Afterward, one of the grips comes over to me with this really perplexed look on his face. He says, “I was just watching you and Tim talk about the scene for the last fifteen minutes.” “Yeah?” And he says, “I didn’t understand a fucking word either one of you said.”
Tim Burton: That about sums it up.
Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd and Alice in Wonderland would never come to existence without these two. Or at least, they would never be as good as they were without them. Johnny Depp and Tim Burton solidified their successful partnership on and off the set. According to NJ entertainment, what they have has proven iconic, lasting more than two decades. “Burton’s unique directorial vision prevented Depp from fading into obscurity after his brush with ’80s TV heartthrob fame. And in Depp, Burton has found a peculiar alter ego and muse to match his dark visions.”
Bromance power trademark: Unique eccentricity that translates to award-winning, critically-acclaimed and box-office films
3. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson (Sherlock Holmes the Movie)
Sherlock Holmes: You’ve never complained about my methods before.
Dr. John Watson: I’m not complaining. How am I complaining? When do I ever complain about you practicing the violin at three in the morning, or your mess, your general lack of hygiene, or the fact that you steal my clothes?
This is by far my newest discovery in the bromance department as I’ve only watched the film recently. It somehow reawakened my fascination to male friendships. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law were the best choice of actors to play Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, respectively. They perfectly portrayed the level of friendship that exists between the two and highlighted the difference between their personalities, which actually work for their benefit. One is a wayward genius who’s always looking for trouble (to fix, probably.) The other one is a more careful and doting doctor who seems to be more attentive to the more important things in life. Apparently, they have two very different sets of DNAs that, luckily for their friendship, matched. I believe that part of the success that Sherlock Holmes had in his conquests, aside from his unique intelligence, is that someone like Dr. Watson will always have his back no matter what. Explosions, getting gunned down and being crashed by mighty ship debris included.
Don’t we all need that?
Bromance power trademark: Insatiable thirst for danger. And the wits to survive it.
2. Dr. Gregory House and Dr. James Wilson (House, MD)
Wilson: “You’re my friend.”
House: “Oh, jeez. Have some backbone. If you think I’m wrong, do something.”
Wilson: “Wait, you’re getting mad at me for sticking up for you?”
House: “You value our friendship more than your ethical responsibilities.”
Wilson: “Our friendship is an ethical responsibility.”
Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) is a very intelligent yet very sardonic doctor who is often hated by his peers, colleagues and patients. On the other hand, Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) is one of the sweetest physicians to ever grace TV land, and even though he’s an oncologist who’s got a handful of dying patients on his turf, people feel good and happy around him. That’s not something you can say about Dr. House. But surprise, surprise, they are the best of friends! Yes, they had a fall out before and I have to give credit to Dr. Wilson for waiting that long enough to actually give up. However, they are back to being best buds again and I couldn’t be happier. In fact, [spoiler alert!] they’re now living together.
In most friendships, you don’t always need someone who share the same interests and like the same things. You just have to find someone who may be totally different from you but despite all that, and the shit he has and he will put you through, you can still manage to be friends with him, maybe save his life a couple of times, and be there for him when it matters the most.
Bromance power trait: They would lie, cheat, steal and mix things up for each other. Bros over everything and everyone else.
1. Joey Tribbiani and Chandler Bing (FRIENDS)
[Joey has packed an emergency kit with food, Mad-Libs and condoms]
Joey: We don’t know how long we’re gonna be stuck here. We might have to repopulate the world.
Chandler: And condoms are the way to do that?
They are the pioneers of bromance in the history of television, as far as I’m concerned. For 10 years, Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Joey (Matt Le Blanc) made us laugh with their adventures. They are also very different individuals. One is a certified ladies’ man and the other, well, is not. But they compliment each other most of the time. What Joey lacks in common sense, Chandler makes up for always putting some sense into him. What Chandler lacks in charm, Joey makes up for, well, helping him hook up with women, even “letting” him have a shot to a girl he also likes.
I love those times when they had little fights, i.e. when Chandler kissed Joey’s girlfriend (Memorable quote: Over the line? You’re so far past the line that you can’t even see the line. The line is a dot to you!) because no matter how angry they get at each other, they always make it a point to sort things out between them. Like when Chandler tried to make it up to Joey, he agreed to be (literally) inside a box and not speak a word unless Joey tells him to. Or that time when Chandler had to move out to live with Monica, Joey cried because it meant “the end of an era” for them. During the first few weeks since he moved out, Chandler reached out and tried to trick Joey into giving him money with a little invented game called “cups” to help him out with rent. It’s small things like that, which make bromance really worthy of a shot, I think.
And did I mention that they gave zillions of hugs to each other every freakin’ time? They almost never stop. And I think it’s adorable.
Bromance power trait: Chick and duck. Foosball. Worst bachelor’s party ever. Everything is just funnier with them around. And they made talking and acting “stupid,” um, forgivable.
I think overt manhood is overrated. It’s amazing stuff like this that most men tend to miss out just because of the big, gigantic fear of being labeled as this and that.
The thing is, you can have too many jeers and ridicules in your lifetime, most of them telling you you’re too gay, too weird or too much of a loser to be taken seriously.
However, you can’t have too many real relationships to last a lifetime. Give yourself a break. For once.
So guys, lighten up. The machismo has to end somehow. Time to shout your man-love with pride.